Today is December 14th. It is quite odd how long ago the presidential election was. In fact, I think that prolonged and wearisome week of utter turmoil continues to pervade us. Needless to say, I don’t know how to describe what is lingering in the air. I think it's safe to say — although, Joe Biden’s Presidency provides marginalized folk with immense relief — this election, statistically, has been too close for comfort.
According to The Associated Press, Joe Biden has received 80,117,578 votes. Trump has received 73,923,495. Yes, Joe Biden won. I am happy. But 73,923,495 votes? For Trump? This candidate has received the second-most popular votes in the history of this county and that worries me tremendously. It is quite foolish to assume otherwise given historical patterns in the United States and its continued nature. I suppose I was hopeful.
Interestingly enough, the Democrats lost House seats, around a dozen. Now, we are fighting for the Senate. This is telling as it means many moderate voters and Republican voters did not vote a straight ballot. Essentially, they agree with Trump’s agenda but were willing to scapegoat him for a larger, widespread, and long-term agenda (already-built-in incentives for many GOP-leaning swing voters).
In particular, white voters are perhaps functioning on the assumption that Trump’s character or rhetoric is the issue, not his agenda. They can and will keep this alive. Regardless, Trump is racist along with his agenda and policies. His supporters and Republican-leaning swing voters will continue to shape the political landscape through non-Presidential elections. They will continue to support candidates who mirror Trump, even without his outlandish persona.
We will be fighting Trump long after he leaves office. Don’t forget that.
With this being said, we should celebrate President-Elect Joe Biden’s victory. BIPOC led this fight and prevailed. On that note, I want to recall my election-week experience.
Before I dive into my experience, I must highlight who I am and what has shaped my personal ideology. I am a Pakistani, Muslim woman of color who stems from an immigrant background. My parents are first-generation immigrants. I am the first in my family to be born in the United States, Chicago specifically.
I am also a first-time voter, recently turning 18 in August. I registered to vote in August and requested a mail-in-ballot. My parents and sister did the same. Our ballots were sent in mid-October. Simultaneously, I was working as a Field Intern for Hillary Scholten for Congress.
Currently, I am a Political Theory and Constitutional Democracy major and History minor in the James Madison and Honors College here at MSU. I hope to be a graduate student (dual-enrollment) in the College of Communication Arts and Sciences to pursue a Master’s degree in Journalism. Afterward, I will be attending law school.
Per what I have said, I think this election’s importance in my life is obvious.
From Tuesday, November 3rd to Saturday, November 7th, I was watching CNN non-stop. Morning and night, I was only focused on election coverage while attending classes and completing my homework. On TV, CNN would play 24/7. We were all intently watching, waiting.
It was difficult to focus on anything but the election. This was most definitely the case for many people, nationally and internationally. All eyes were on the United States. This election had an impact on every country: the consequence of the United States’ monopolization of the world economy and its overall foreign dominance/imperialism. This determined everything.
That week was a blur. I remember the debilitating tension, anxiety, and stress. Nothing else. Tuesday evening was horrible. Yet, I was hopeful. I thought, “Bernie predicted this”. It helped me cope and he was right. Every day afterward, I was gaining hope. Deep down, I knew Trump was going to lose. The numbers were in my favor.
Sunday, November 8th:
I had gone to bed Saturday night satisfied with the direction the election was taking. All that was left was a declaration, a sign this would be the final outcome. On Sunday morning, my father woke me up and told me CNN had announced Biden to be the projected winner, the President-Elect.
I don’t think I can describe or characterize how I felt at that moment. I rushed out to the living room and started watching CNN ecstatically. My father showed me this video of Van Jones speaking on Biden’s win.
It was hard to watch. Tears were streaming down my face and my mom and dad’s face. For the first time in four years, I could breathe. They could breathe. In that moment, there was faith and conviction in something better. We would never get “normal” back, but this was the return of basic humanity, empathy for others. “Character matters.”
Later that day, we bought cake from the Cheesecake Factory. It was a good day, a day for celebration.
As I write this reflection of sorts and re-watch Van Jones’ speech, I have to hold back tears. We have won because of Indigneous, Black, Latino, Asian, and other marginalized communities. We have spearheaded this fight, and will continue to do so. You must listen and do your part.
If you want to get involved, start with Jon Ossoff and Reverend Raphael Warnock — Georgia’s Senate runoff races. You don’t have to live in Georgia to make a change.
Reverend Raphael Warnock